Capital One Won't Really Close Your Credit Card, Will Secretly Continue To Bill You

When Capital One “closes” your credit card account, they’ll continue to allow automatic withdrawals even though the account is closed. But they won’t send you a statement—you know, because it’s closed!—so that you’ll end up with late fees. Quenten experienced this first hand when he closed his account recently, and now Capital One has sent his account to collections over a $38.00 late fee for two 38-cent charges that he never knew about.

As expected, the CSR didn’t make canceling the card easy: “He spent roughly 30 minutes trying to convince me to keep my account open, offering me all these ‘features.'” Finally the account was closed and Quenten was told to make sure all automatic withdrawals “such as AOL” were moved to another card or canceled. The CSR didn’t mention any specific monthly charges, however.

Today in the mail I received a letter from Capital One stating that I have been sent to collections for owing $38.00. I figure this is a mistake because I closed my account, and have not received an email (I am on paperless billing), or a bill in the mail. I called the 1-800 number, as it turns out when I signed up for the card, I didn’t opt out for “Total Protection”, which is a very small fee that you pay each month, so that if you are unemployed and can not make a payment you are covered. So 20 days after I called to close my account “Total Protection” made a charge to my card for a whole 38 cents. Then they charged me another 38 cents for the month of January. This has ballooned to $38.00 now because of late fees. Speaking to the Capital One representative tonight, apparently when you “close” your account, it is not really closed. They leave it open for at least one billing cycle, to allow for any automatic withdrawals to continue. So several questions came to mind, and you won’t believe the answers,

1. If “Total Protection” was added to my card through Capital One five years ago when I signed up for it, shouldn’t it be closed when I closed my card? I assumed that since “Total Protection” was offered by Capital One that they where the same company.

Apparently not, “Total Protection” is a separate company, and Capital One will enroll you, but they will not inform the outside company you have closed your account.

2. Why was I not informed when I closed my account about “Total Protection” and given the number to call?

All Capital One is required to do (according to them) is read a generic discloser that states you should have all automatic withdraws stopped. They could not explain to me how I was to know that Total Protection service was not being offered by Capital One. When I asked how was I supposed to know the phone number to call this outside vendor, they told me I should have asked them when I closed my account. The Capital One rep. then gave me the phone number to call.

3. Why was I never sent a statement, paperless or otherwise, during the last two months I have been late?

Because my account was in a “closed status” they do not send out statements.

Something is wrong here, if they still allow charges to your account, and one is made shouldn’t they send me a statement?

When I called the “Total Protection” company they informed me that it is Capital One’s job to tell me I have this on my account and supply me with the phone number when I call to close my account, he then reversed the charges for the last two months. So now I am stuck with a collection on my credit report, and $38.00 worth of fees from Capital One, and a card still open. I really don’t feel I should pay these fees when I was never sent a statement about them.

Quenten, check out our fighting back guide which includes a link to Capital One contact info, and keep pressing the issue. Capital One did exactly the same thing to this writer in 2004, and I was able to eventually get the late fee waived and the account truly closed after several persistent phone calls.

(Thanks to Quenten!)